DO NOT TRAVEL TO MEXICO! Here’s why:
We had a wonderful reunion with Dr. Ricardo Castañeda Santo and his family. We finally met the Santo’s oldest son, Said. It was Said who made it possible for the eight of us to survive a horrific abduction a half-hour east of Mazatlan, Mexico just a year ago January 15th.
Not only would we meet our savior, Said, but we learned much more about what was even more perilous than we originally thought. Hard to imagine it was worse, but, apparently, it was!
Fortunately, for all of us, Said (then 18) was home when he received a call from Dr. Santos friends who were following his truck, a new Dodge Ram when they were boxed in and robbed before being taken to a remote jungle site. All the Santos protestations stopped when a couple of the bandits fired their automatic weapons in the air. This also was meant to discourage passing cars from stopping to help!
Over our weekend visit, Ricardo and Said related more details we had been largely unaware of. While weapons were fired during the Santo abduction, none were when we were abducted roughly a half-hour later.
We did know the bandits plan was to acquire four pick-ups. Guesswork indicated they needed these for their drug smuggling. The two pickups they “acquired” from the Santos and the Baggs would never be recovered. Nor would any of the valuables stolen from Judith Santo and Laurie Baggs. Cheryl was fortunate to have secreted her rings which had belonged to my Mother!
As you read from the earlier writing (below), one of the three sedans they used to box us in, a white Chrysler 200, wrecked when they slammed into the jungle. This car would be eventually be recovered.
A couple of minutes after stopping on a remote dirt road, we were marched, at gunpoint, up a rocky wash. We would learn later the plan was for everyone in four vehicles to be executed in this lonely forsaken tick infested place.
At the time we were being forced up this rocky draw, unbeknown to us, Said Santo had received a call telling of his family’s plight. Immediately, he used his father’s contact list to gain access to individuals high up in the Mexican government.
The pendulum began to swing our way! Very quickly the bad guys knew they were the hunted. We do not know who amongst the bad guys were connected in such a way as to know that a rescue effort was being organized to coma after the bandits. In Mexico it it difficult to know who is the good guy; who is the bad guy!
At this time no one knew that Dave and Laurie Baggs, and Billy and Cheryl Walker were kidnapped and being marched up and down a very hilly jungle. In fact, Cheryl and I soon realized we had neglected telling our family that we’d even gone to Mexico.
Had things gone as planned for the Mexican bandits there would be eight lumps of decaying matter in the jungle known only to the buzzards and wild animals. Cheryl and I will be forever grateful to Said Santo and know the Santo family will be our friends forever…
NOTE: I plan to add more to this story. I’m awaiting for photos from the Santo’s family. Hopefully, some of our memorable day flying will show up as well.
Humphrey’s Peak on the San Francisco Mountain Range (Flagstaff, AZ). We drove the rented van over 500 miles showing the Santos the many colors of Arizona. A days travel took us from the Sonoran Desert Saguaro Cactus to the Junipers of Sedona and the red rock country to the snow covered tops of the San Francisco Mountains in Flagstaff.
June 6, 2018 Prescott couple robbed and murdered in Mexico! Yet another tragic event proving how dangerous it is in Mexico especially!
Ray Ball, 72 and Jo Anne Butler, 69
Here’s another RECENT example on why NOT to travel to Mexico. When I read this it really hit home! The parallels to our horrific experience were omnipresent!
Read the article written by Emily Crane (Dailymail.com):
This newly-engaged couple was looking for wedding locations in Mexico. The link above reveals how they were kidnapped at gunpoint, robbed and severely beaten over several hours…
I am also including an e-note received March 16th (two months plus a day after our January 15th horror story). For this addendum, see the last part of my story…
Our OWN Mexican saga began January 12th with Cheryl and I tossin’ a few things in the travel bag. We headed to MZT (Mazatlàn) the 13th. Bein’ really gutsy we would try to use our retiree passes on American (Mesa Arlines). Dave & Laurie Baggs would pick us up for some beach-front frolickin.’ Always fun with those two. Dave n’ I have been friends since 1964 when we both worked for Teton National Insurance Co. Hard to find friends with the kind of tolerance that’ll last 54 years! O’course my buddy, Joe Davis, has lasted goin’ on 77 years now. Amazing!
Cheryl and made it on board the American Bombardier CRJ-900 (CR9) we lucked out
and, not only made the flight, we were upgraded into First Class! It was a nice flight with Dave & Laurie there to greet our arrival. The 13th and 14th were normal turista days for us. We enjoyed being with the Baggs in their luxurious beachfront condo. Lots to see and do with some nice eateries around Mazatlán.
L-R: Billy Walker – Dave & Laurie Baggs – Cheryl Walker
All smiles as shown above, but the next day, not so good…
January 15th, 2018
WOW! WHAT A DAY! …we started the day with this: Cheryl and I still in MZT with our flight back to PHX set for the next day, the 16th. We’ve had a delightful time visiting our friends, Dave & Laurie Baggs. I’m writing this from their hi-rise balcony overlooking the the peaceful waves as they greet the Mazatlán shoreline. As the sun rises it casts a pink glow on the high wispy cirriform clouds forming a soft canopy over this tranquil setting. Cheryl is still in a sweet slumber not yet ready to greet this magnificent day. The only thing missing is a Stearman to cruise by with that rich Continental 220 melody to serenade her in to wakefulness…
The day started just fine. However, after we left the Baggs Condo at 0930 AM January 15th it was another story:
Photo taken by Mexican Police 1/15/18
On February 18th I heard from Dr. Ricardo Castanez Santo. He told me that the reason we were not killed by the bandidos was that his brother, seeing Ricardo and his family abducted, called Ricardo’s oldest son who alerted some contacts high up in the Mexican government. He believes this is why the Mexican military and State Police mounted such a search & rescue effort.
Of course none of the rescuers were aware of the four of us until we were actually rescued. I shudder thinking that had Ricardo’s brother not started the rescue ball rollin’ we might have all ended up dead in a very remote place in the Mexican jungle…
Ricardo lives some seven hours from the point we all were abducted. So, the bandidos initially thought they had seven hours before anyone would be aware. However, the bandidos soon knew they were the ones being hunted.
Still, it was six hours in the Mexican jungle before we were released and able to head towards our rescuers. Alls well that ends well. We are alive and safe. Unfortunately, at some great cost to Ricardo and my buddy Dave who lost their new high-dollar pickups. Then too, there was the loss of irreplaceable items such as Laurie’s jewelry. The four of us had our cell phones stolen. Cheryl lost her nice $200 purse, and $250 in cash plus some credit cards along with her passport. All no big deal when you think of what would likely have happened to the eight of us had Ricardo’s brother not been behind and witnessed the event. WHEW!
Yup! NO MORE MEXICO!
I did not post my story on the Facebook site Mr. Faria mentions below, and I do not know who did. I just hope the word gets out in hopes of sparing other fellow countrymen from going through the same ordeal…
Regardless of what Mr. Faria suggests others said, I will state that every single word of what happened to us on January 15th 2018, and that you will read below Mr. Faria’s e-mail, is absolutely true:
From: AL FARIA <email@example.com>Subject: Your Mexico experienceDate: March 16, 2018 at 7:57:50 AM MSTHello CaI live in Mexico and I follow many posts on Facebook. Your blog story was published in a group called “On the Road in Mexico”. Unfortunately, most of the people commenting on your story say that you are a fraud and because you are a Trump supporter, you made up fake news to thwart Mexico tourism. (I voted for Trump).I stuck up for you because I don’t think you would openly publish such a story unless it was true. Someone also dug up a Canadian newsclip with your friend Dave Briggs telling the same story. I would love for you to go onto the post and make a statement so that we can clarify your identity. Of course, I understand if you don’t want to get involved. It must have been a terrifying experience for you and I am very sorry that you experienced it.I often tell people that incidents like yours can happen anywhere in the world. Including the U.S. We have many carjackings and robberies that happen to tourists all across the country, but it never makes the national news. Mexico seems to get a bad rap when it comes to news reporting.ANyways, again, I am sorry about your incident. I hope that you have all had time to heal. I jjust wanted to contact you and explain what is going on in Mexico.Al. FariaLake Chapala, MexicoFormerly of Massachusetts
The Mr. Briggs mentioned above is actually Dave Baggs. His story, linked below, was published in Alberta. It is, obviously, very similar to what I’ve written. Both of us feel a strong need to warn people about this growing danger. We know this can happen in our country and, in fact, it does happen. However, there is a HUGE difference in that our legal system’s corruption would not make so much as a pimple on the butt of Mexico’s legal system. Also, most of the bandidos in America are able speak some English. Being able to carry a concealed weapon is in the U.S. is comforting. I was unable to do that in Mexico. And on and on…